Language in the Context of South African Workplace Discrimination Law

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2022/v25ia12279

Keywords:

Language; culture; identity; language rights; unfair discrimination; harassment; justification; inherent requirements of the job defence; reasonable accommodation, Language, culture, identity, language rights, unfair discrimination, harassment, justification, inherent requirements of the job defence, reasonable accommodation

Abstract

This contribution considers the role of language as a prohibited ground of unfair discrimination in the workplace in South Africa, an area of law that has been somewhat neglected in the literature to date. It starts by setting out the constitutional and legislative framework for the protection of language rights and the prohibition of unfair discrimination based on language as a listed ground. It then, with brief comparative reference to other prominent jurisdictions, explains the potential ways in which an employer may unfairly discriminate against employees based on language, following which it considers the potential grounds for justification of language-based discrimination in the workplace. After consideration of the sparse case law on the topic in South Africa, it highlights a few specific issues regarding language and workplace discrimination, before concluding with some thoughts on potential future developments.

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References

Bibliography

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Australia

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Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998

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National Credit Act 34 of 2005

Pan South African Language Board Act 59 of 1995

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Use of Official Languages Act 12 of 2012

United Kingdom

Equality Act, 2010

Immigration Act, 2016

United States of America

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GN R425 in GG 35398 of 1 June 2012 (Civil Aviation Regulations, 2011)

GN 111 in GG 38487 of 19 February 2015 (Revised Policy for the Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications)

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US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission date unknown National Origin Discrimination https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/nationalorigin.cfm accessed 9 September 2021

Published

2022-01-25

How to Cite

Louw, A. (2022). Language in the Context of South African Workplace Discrimination Law. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 25, 1–38. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2022/v25ia12279

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Section

Articles